SEA Change
AAAS STEM Equity Achievement
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SEA Change

Guiding Principles

 

Participating in SEA Change is a commitment to the SEA Change Principles:

STEMM Equity Achievement (SEA) Change supports institutional transformation, with an initial focus on colleges and universities, enabling success in high quality education and research missions by ensuring that the full range of individual talent can be recruited, retained, and advanced in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM).

By joining SEA Change, an institution commits to equity and full participation of each individual across gender (including gender, gender identity, and gender expression), race, ethnicity, disability status, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, age, familial history of higher education, and any other factor that is unrelated to ability and has been the target of bias and unequal treatment. Bias, marginalization, and exclusion have prevented the full engagement of a broad range of individuals that is needed to maximize creativity and quality, as well as the full engagement of the promise of available talent, in STEMM education and careers.

 
 
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  • We believe colleges and universities cannot reach their full potential to contribute to all students and the larger society unless they can include, engage, and benefit from the talents of broadly diverse groups of students, faculty, and others in their communities.

  • We believe the role of higher education systems is to serve all who are interested, committed, and have promise; we aspire to provide an inclusive culture of learning and respect, overcoming stereotypes and addressing biases.

  • We believe that advancing equity requires dedication and action from all levels of the organization, including supportive central and local governance and accountability structures and active leadership from those in senior roles; institutional leaders commit themselves to take action to inspire and foster commitment of others across the institution, accordingly.

  • We recognize the long-term commitment and important contributions of institutions whose historical missions are to serve specific populations of students historically excluded from academic opportunities available to others.

  • We acknowledge that all individuals have multiple individual identities, and we commit to considering the intersection of those identities whenever possible.

  • We also acknowledge that every individual experiences identity differently and is unique; membership in a group does not mean acceptance of the idea of homogeneity within that group. Heterogeneous groups reinforce the need to build structures that affirm the support of person-centered policies and reject society’s stereotyping and structural inequity.

 
 
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  • We aspire to remove the additional systemic and structural barriers and obstacles that compound the usual challenges in higher education facing everyone and are statistically more likely to be faced by individuals from groups that are affected by inequity at major points of educational, professional, and career development and progression.

  • We aspire to shift institutional culture and climate, ensuring that regardless of demographic and identity characteristics unrelated to potential and performance in STEMM, individuals are respected and enabled to be productive and to contribute to the advancement and application of knowledge.

  • We aspire to develop solutions to inequity that build upon organizational governance and accountability structures and systems at the central and local level, including metrics and evidence-based evaluation, standards, policies, processes, and roles and responsibilities transcending individuals employed at a particular time.

  • We aspire for solutions to inequity to involve collaboration of those who are targets of inequity and those who are not, knowing that the burden of change should not rest on individuals experiencing barriers that stem from those inequities. The cost of participation by those with identities targeted by bias should be recognized and addressed equitably.

 
 
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  • We commit to embracing equity, diversity, and inclusion as central elements of excellence in academia, business, and industry; we recognize that high performance results from the inclusion of all committed individuals of promise, and that STEMM excellence requires programs, policies, and practices that support a welcoming and professional climate and culture for inclusion of all.

  • We commit to addressing the current structural and systemic inequities affecting different populations and groups across STEMM disciplines, particularly barriers that result in the absence or near-absence of diversity within student bodies and senior academic and professional roles, as well as in business and industry.

  • We commit to identifying and aspire to addressing both explicit and implicit biases that lead to exclusionary conduct and perpetuate structures and systems of inequity across our institution, and we understand that such conduct is a barrier to enhancing excellence.

  • We commit to building a community that is actively intolerant of exclusionary conduct and that establishes standards of excellence requiring both high quality work and professional conduct (which by definition is intolerant of exclusionary practices).

  • We commit to using organizational structures and systems, including related resource allocation, to support better design, evaluation, and continuous improvement of those structures and systems—as well as of transactional strategies (individual programs and projects) aimed at enhancing diversity and inclusion—to make the structures, systems, and strategies more effective and sustainable.

Note: The phrase “inequities affecting or targeting some populations” is used across the principles to denote that often, even if certain groups are well-represented, they are still not being equitably served or fully included due to bias, stereotype, and marginalization.